How did you start off in the performing arts?
Having studied media and performing arts, I actually began in television working at ITV. I just wanted to get as much experience as I could and was open to seeing where opportunities would lead me.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Think about how you can stand out from the crowd and what differentiates you. There are so many platforms available to populate with content, so make use of them. I have been approached via social media for all kinds of work. Make it a daily mission to add a post, but keep your public accounts completely on brand and around your field of performing arts.
What would you change about UK training?
It can be a challenge encouraging students to take risks. They are focused on achieving a good grade, so playing it safe can be a preferred option. Finding ways to guide them to innovate and move boundaries is key. After all, they are the next generation of theatre influencers.
What is the best part of your job?
It is a privilege to see our students find their voice and develop their practice. By the time they graduate they are professionals, and I am proud of each and every one of them.
And your least favourite?
Admin – it’s always more fun to be in the studio.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students be looking up to?
Role models are incredibly important and who speaks to you is very individual. I think all students could watch and read more outside of their comfort zones. With so many more channels and streaming available, it seems to have had the reverse effect as students can just find more of the things they like.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre professional should have?
Tenacity, tenacity, tenacity. Never give up!
Lyndsay Duthie is head of school for film, media and performing arts at University for the Creative Arts in Surrey. She was talking to John Byrne.